Do High Ranked Universities Have Better Graduate Employment Outcomes?

Do High Ranked Universities Have Better Graduate Employment Outcomes?

Mahsood Shah (CQUniversity, Australia), Hai Yen Vu (Macquarie University, Australia) and Winnie Eley (The University of Newcastle, Australia)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0819-9.ch011


University rankings are increasingly used as a measure of quality and reputation. Institutional leaders are increasingly using the outcomes of ranking in marketing of university courses. Both the critics of ranking and those who support have different viewpoints. Institutions that are ranked high celebrate their achievement however limited research is known on how outcomes of ranking are used to reward academic staff. Likewise some institutions that are not ranked enjoy ongoing student demand with increased diversity of student population, and comparable graduate outcomes. Some research suggests that students consider ranking to determine their choice, however others have ruled out. This chapter reviews the literature on both sides of the argument about ranking and it then presents the graduate employment data related to Australian universities to find out if elite universities have better graduate employment outcomes compared other universities.
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Ranking and league tables are increasingly used by universities in many countries. The results of rankings are used in marketing materials to promote to various stakeholders. In Australia, universities are increasingly using the results of ranking with prospective students, and such information is included on websites, marketing materials, and other social media. Studies have shown that top ranked universities attract a large number of students, and graduates have better employment outcomes. Research has shown that students are using ranking to determine their University choice. Most studies on ranking are undertaken in Europe and the USA. There is limited research in Australian higher education on the impact of ranking on universities and academic work. This chapter provides a thorough review of literature on ranking. It then uses publicly available data from Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) website previously called MyUniversity to compare if graduates from elite universities have better employment outcomes compared to other Australian universities. The chapter also argues that whilst ranking provides a measure of institutional quality and reputation, it does not serve the moral purpose of access and equity in higher education. Ranking largely uses measures such as research and teaching quality and ignores contemporary trends in higher education with increased growth of students from underrepresented backgrounds.

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